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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Quickie House Update

Back when we finished the dining room last month, we also updated the doors from regular fake-wood, hollow-core, flat doors to nice paneled doors.We'd taken the doors off to paint and meant to replace them, but that kind of got set aside in favor of working on other things. We figured it might be nice to give Carys's birthday guests a bathroom WITH A DOOR, though, so we hung four doors before her party: one going to the basement, the laundry room, the bathroom, and the entryway closet. We didn't do solid-core (hello $$$$$$$$$$$) but we did find some foam-core ones that seem to do a great job blocking out the sound and were less than $50 each. 

Since we were replacing like with like (and could use the old doors as templates) and the framework for the door was in fine condition, we just went for the slab doors instead of the pre-hung doors. This was a TOTALLY new experience for us - we literally didn't know that slab and pre-hung doors were types of doors or what the difference was. We'd never hung doors before. Chris did a fantastic job figuring it out. He bought a guides/template kit to help drill the knob holes and carve out a shallow area for the hinges, used the old doors as templates for hing and hole placement, and sanded down the top, bottom, and sides of the doors asneeded until they closed smoothly. Getting the tension on the hinges and right depth for the hardware was tricky - if not done right, they wouldn't stay closed without latching (you know those doors that swing open? hinge problems!).  

I actually was kind of digging the look of the primed doors - the doors being a complimentary but slightly different color than the walls. I'm keeping this look in the back of my mind for future updates. Maybe with a slightly darker gray than the walls? Slightly lighter? Hmm. But in the meantime, we painted them white. In retrospect, yes, we should have painted them before we hung them. I don't know why we didn't. We're not a smart people.

LOL at my finger at the bottom. I'll have to replace this with a better picture if I remember. 

I can't wait to get the new floors put in everywhere. It will feel like a completely different house. 

I cannot get over the difference that just simply replacing the doors makes. It's huge. It looks so much more custom and high-end and elegant. If you can't spring for a whole-house makeover, REPLACE THOSE DOORS!

After surviving the mad dash to finish the dining room and the doors before Carys's birthday party, I really didn't feel like doing anything else. I still don't. But. BUT. That darn sitting room. Having every other room on the main floor done (except the kitchen, which we aren't touching) just really made it stick out like sore thumb. So I decided to go for it. Albeit very, very slowly. Like I started it around July 16 and it's now August 2 and it's maybe 20% done. A generous 20%. 

The before/listing picture

And where I was starting from, after removing the window treatments. 

Those built-ins were really intimidating to me. That room has a higher ceiling so you need to break out the ladder to reach the top of the built-ins and the crown molding. And climbing up the ladder, painting, getting down, scootching it over, getting up, painting, getting down, etc. times like a hundred was super unappealing to me. 

So I decided to ignore them for a few weeks and do the windows only. Like everything else in the house, I did two coats of primer and three coats of trim paint, and caulked the many, many seams between the primer and the trim paint. 

First coat of primer

Before and after caulking.

Because of the light that comes in through the window during the day and the very LITTLE light that we have in that room at night (like two tiny wall sconces in between the built-ins and some can lights inside the built-ins) it's hard to get a really good picture of the final product, but, like all the other newly-white trim in the house, I lurve it. 

We've been trying to figure out what the hell to do with that space between the built-ins. The previous owners had a piano there, which worked well in the space. However, we don't have a piano. My ideas included knocking out the arched tops of the bookcases to give them a more sleek look, building out the built-ins all the way across the wall, and taking them out completely and starting over with new built-ins. Ultimately, since I WASN'T sure what I wanted to do with them, I decided to leave them as-is, paint them, and then live with them for a little bit in order to decide down the road. Painting them is a relatively inexpensive update, and everything else is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Like a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$$. $$$$$$$$$$ that we don't have to spend on this. 

And that's what I'm working on currently. Painting the built-ins and the crown molding. The baseboards are coming off when we put the new floors in, so for now I'm just leaving them. 

Priming the shelves for the built-ins

Work in progress. The tree is hiding the primer that's gone up on 1/2 the built-in on the left.

I had been watching Craigslist for a good piece of furniture for that middle section - a buffet, or dresser, or bench, maybe. AND I FOUND HER. I love her. They were asking for $250 and I got her for $190. 

It's supposedly an antique that originally belonged to the seller's grandmother. It's been painted, but still has the original hardware. Apparently there was a table that matched but she'd sold it previously. (DAMN!). The color is perfect, the size is perfect, the look is perfect. There's not a thing I don't love about it. I don't know what era it's from (if it's actually antique and not, like, IKEA), I don't know what style it is, but I love it. (If anyone wants to fill me in, please do!). I even think it's solid wood. Such a score!

I painted a couple swatches of the "Sea Salt" dining room color in that nook. I like it, I think?? Maybe it's a good way to continue the color flow through the entire house? And I like that it brings out a little bit of the slate blue in the buffet???? I think?!?!?! It looks WAY more blue/mint green in this space than it does in the dining room, though, so it might end up a bit bolder in here than in the dining room. Which I like. 

And a huge canvas artwork (abstract watercolor blues and greens and browns and grays??) leaning on the buffet filling that space?? YES? I'm thinking the built-in shelves will be a pseudo-gallery wall, full of frames and canvases. Hopefully it will encourage me to actually print pictures!!

I literally think it might be September before this room is finished, but at least I can now say I've started it. And that buffet makes me smile every time I pass this room, which is 100 times a day, so it's basically already paid for itself. 


  1. The pineapple cuts in the lower drawer handles are from New England, 18th century style (Newport ships would carry Jamaican pineapples and sugar cane to New England distilleries who made rum. The rum was shipped to Africa to purchases slaves, which were carried to Jamaica for the sugar cane farms.)

    Looks great.

  2. Looking mesmerizing.
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